Review - Ghost Girls, Cath Ferla
Steeped in the smells and sounds of Sydney’s Chinatown, weighted by the sinister atmosphere of a private world of terrible crimes,Ghost Girls is a remarkable debut novel.
The combination of plot, character and setting in Ghost Girls is perfectly balanced, and the delivery is pitched elegantly to provide insight into the depths of the depravity of the crimes, without making even the most sensitive reader turn away: Newtown Review of Books
'Get on with things. That was how Wendy had met her death. She'd been hiding something and no one had noticed. Everyone had been too busy getting on with things. Sophie knew this pattern like a favourite tune. Move on, get on. Make a ghost.'
Winter in Sydney. The city is brimming with foreign students. Sophie Sandilands takes a job teaching at an English language school. When one of her students leaps to her death it becomes clear that lurking within the psyche of this community is a deep sense of despair and alienation. When it is revealed that the dead woman on the pavement has stolen another's identity, Sophie is drawn into the mystery.
Unable to resist the investigative instincts that run in her blood, Sophie finds herself unravelling a sinister operation that is trawling the foreign student market for its victims. But as Sophie works on tracking down the criminals it becomes evident that someone has knowledge of her and the disappearances in her own past. Will Sophie solve the mystery before she too becomes a ghost?
Ghost Girls richly evokes the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Sydney's Chinatown, and imagines dark exploitative demands behind closed suburban doors.